THE DYNAMISM and drive of North East businesses is what sets them apart from other UK companies working within the space sector, according to a national space industry leader.
Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, was one of several speakers from across the UK who was in Durham on Thursday (March 22) for the Discover the Possibilities space conference, designed to help businesses capitalise on the growing, multi-million pound space sector.
Mr Martin said: “North East companies are very dynamic and driven in finding new ways of using space technology. And while there are a growing number of space companies, it’s the non-space companies and their willingness and readiness to look for new technologies and ways of differentiating themselves in their own marketplace that we see as particularly strong here – and that’s what will help generate growth.
“Our role is to grow the market for space-based services and make sure the UK is at the forefront of it.”
More than 100 businesses at the conference, organised by the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence and held at Ramside Hall Hotel, in Durham, heard how the North East has the highest number of technology companies outside of London and that the UK space sector currently employs 38,500 people and generates £13.7bn of income.
Graham Turnock, CEO of the UK Space Agency, the Government agency responsible for the UK’s civil space programme, told delegates:
“The North East is now firmly on the map of the UK’s space landscape. There are incredible opportunities for local businesses to use and benefit from space technologies, and to take advantage of the support on offer from organisations like the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence.
“We’re working hard to ensure the benefits of the UK’s space sector are felt across the whole country as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.”
The North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence is delivered by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham, working on behalf of Durham County Council. The centre is one of five across the country and is based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark), in Sedgefield, County Durham.
Catherine Johns, innovation director at Business Durham, said: “It was fantastic to see so many businesses come together to hear the part they can play in providing tangible solutions to real problems faced by society.
“The North East has a unique opportunity in developing space and satellite designs and products – we are interested in solving real world problems that people face every day so this was a great arena for them to hear how they can tap into this burgeoning market.”